|Leo Tolstoy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
From Paul Birukoff's, Leo Tolstoy: Childhood and Early Manhood (1906):
Childhood: days of idyll, Moscow and Kazan University
Count Tolstoy was a gentle, easy going man. Quick to tell a joke, he was reluctant to mete out corporal punishment that was so common at the time to the hundreds of serfs on their estate. He disliked wolf-baiting and fox-hunting, preferring to ride in the fields and forests, or walking with his children and their pack of romping greyhounds. Leo recounts outings with his siblings, friends, and paternal grandmother Pelageya Nikolayevna Tolstoy (d.1838) to pick hazelnuts; she seemed a dreamy magical figure to him. Sometimes he spent the evening in her bedroom while their blind story-teller Lev Stepanovich narrated lengthy, enchanting tales.